Apr 11, 2010

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Do Looks Really Matter?

Seriously, do they?

In the past few months, I have observed how television commercials and similar media have seemed to place so much more value on looks, even more than they used to. For example, I was appalled at a TV ad that featured whitening lotion for teens and pre-teens. Seriously??? In an article I had read, the author even pointed out that the ad said something about “start white, start right” (or vice versa). Bottom line, the point was to make it far, you have to have white skin. With that, I got to thinking if looks really matter.

In a perfect world, the answer should be no. However, in the world we live in, sadly often times the answer is yes. For me, I personally see how looks do affect interactions I engage in, but that doesn’t mean I approve of judging others by their looks. What I mean here is that as I have gotten older (and it is physically obvious now) I seem to be able to get more respect from my students. It’s like they see me more as an authority figure as compared to when I was still quite young. As such, I see how looks can make a difference. In this case, it was a “good” effect, but many times, people can use looks as a means for discrimination which I TOTALLY DO NOT CONDONE! Going back to my intro, for example, having darker skin should not be an issue.

I believe that more than changing the way we look through these supposed magic creams, treatments and  plastic surgery, which are big trends nowadays. More than emphasizing that we will be “better” with these,  we need to be able to highlight that we don’t need to CHANGE who we are, but to change OUR PERSPECTIVE of who we are and this can be done by taking good care of physical selves. For example, I struggle with a mild case of hirsutism, which is an off-shoot of a hormonal problem I have. As such, I have a lot of unsightly unwanted hairs on my upper lip and chin. Perhaps, taking steps to remove these hairs such as waxing, threading or the like can be helpful. Checking out a site featuring Laser Hair Removal in Los Angeles made me think also about seeking permanent hair removal treatments for my problem. The thing is, I’m not so sure how well I can tolerate that and if I can afford it for that matter.

On a personal level, at this point in my life, I can still say I will not opt for any physical treatments  such as Botox Treatment Los Angeles. I have nothing against those who want to have it done, and who knows if five, ten years down the line I’d feel the same. I guess as long as you educate yourself and read the WebMD Botox Information thoroughly, you can make a better decision for yourself.

As I’ve said,  it’s not just physical looks per se that matter, but really how we take care of ourselves.The thing is, we don’t really get to get that message across to people, especially young and impressionable individuals. So do looks really matter? Yes, they do. But this doesn’t mean you have to dislike the way you look: you just have to learn to accentuate and highlight your personal beauty strengths.

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Apr 11, 2010

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Rewriting Filipino Time.

I used to be a very punctual person growing up.  Now, I catch myself being late a lot. To be fair, I still am generally prompt  when it comes to meetings and appointments. However, because of the notion of Filipino Time, sometimes I find myself dilly dallying instead of getting ready as early as I would have normally used to do.

The idea that it is okay to be late because the event (be it a meeting, party or what not) doesn’t start on time anyway seems to have been so ingrained into todays society that many have lost a sense of value for time. Perhaps this attitude prevails because it has become an accepted behavior among most of us, very much like Pavlov’s classical conditioning. I suppose we also make it acceptable by our response to these kinds of behaviors.

Just this term, the university I work for introduced a program to really emphasize the importance of being on time. Every now and then, we would receive emails reminding us about how we should be in the classrooms on time, even though our students tend to come in later. I guess part of the reason why the students come late too is because they know the teachers are aware they come late so they aren’t 100% prompt 100% of the time. Plus they get away with it anyway.

This coming term, I am going to try to rewrite Filipino time, at least for myself. Perhaps by being more self-aware about my being prompt and conscientious about this, I can affect change around me, after all, this is why I’m called teacher, right?

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Apr 5, 2010

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Tests, tests and more tests.

I’m over my head with papers, quizes and tests that need to be checked :-(  Next to having to wake up early, this is one part of the job that can really challenge me. I guess most teachers will feel the same way, or at least I hope they do! While tests are essential ways in measuring or assessing how much students have learned, sometimes I think there are other measures that can also be as rich in data and perhaps for some, more appropriate.

This coming summer I will be giving a workshop on embracing different learners in the classroom. I hope this will be helpful to all teachers and parents out there who have a passion for making their classrooms fair for all their students. Nonetheless, while trying to embrace all types of learners is a goal I have in my class, I still cannot avoid having to be a traditional test-giving teacher from time to time. At times, I turn to my test bank or perhaps a quiz generator to help me come up with the best test possible to accommodate all the different students in my class. I guess one way I try to keep it fair is by giving my students test taking tips and sample exercises so that they can hone their skills and be able to cope with the academic demands of classes. I think this is especially important for school systems that tend to be more traditional and structured, just like what we have here in the Philippines. I’m glad that the school I currently teach in focuses on a more transformative learning pedagogy which allows me to be a more flexible teacher both in terms of teaching concepts and assessing student’s progress.

I will post more about the details of the workshop when I have them, but I hope I do see you there!

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Apr 2, 2010

Posted by in Multimedia Center, Teaching Resources, The Library | 0 Comments

Notes from a Wimpy Kid’s Diary

Teaching self-esteem and social skills are probably two of the most difficult concepts to impart. I guess, even learning these two can be tricky at times, what more for a tween or a young adolescent, right?

The movie The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the book with the same title by Jeff Kinney, is a fun and insightful look into a middleschoolers world. It highlights issues and concerns that children between ages 10-16 face, especially as they navigate the tumultuous world known as school.

The struggle for autonomy and establishing one’s identity are two crucial issues that occur at this period of life. Often times, this causes a lot of stress and pressure to a young child’s life. It causes one to question who they are and what they will be in the society they live in. As adults, we tend to think that they are resilient enough to make it through this period, especially if they too went through similar experiences.

Watching that period of life through Greg and Rowley’s eyes, the lead characters who are best friends, reminded me of struggles I went through as a fat kid in 6th grade. I remember how puberty started kicking in then and I was not a very pleasant sight to behold! I recall being the butt of jokes to many of my prettier and slimmer classmates, and though I took it in stride, I realized that this had a long term effect on my life, both in positive and negative ways.

Although I haven’t read the book yet, I believe both the film and the book can be valuable resources for your tweens who are entering that crucial place in their life to help them learn to recognize the value of being true to yourself and loving who you are.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid opens on April 3, 2010 in local cinemas.

photo credit: Wikipedia entry on Diary of a Wimpy Kid (film)

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Apr 1, 2010

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Enjoy an eggciting Easter ending at the Marriott Manila!

The Holy Week is one of the most revered and sacred holidays for most Christians. It is a time to reflect, repent and return to the Lord who so graciously gave up His life for His people. It is also a time for families to reconnect and bond. The Marriott Manila opens its doors to patrons for a blissful family retreat where mommies, daddies and their kids can enjoy a relaxing weekend together. As an added bonus, the Marriott will be having an exciting activities planned for the family on the 4th of April in commemoration of Easter Sunday.

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Mar 29, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Featured | 3 Comments

My Right, Your Right, Our Right: Education for All

Education is a right.

However, for many, this may not feel like it. I am lucky I was born to a family that afforded me a good education, but not everybody is as lucky as me. But this does not mean they don’t deserve an education right?

In the radio this past week (I listen to AM stations most of the time whenever I am heading to school), I heard countless tales of the sad plight of education in our country. I heard how some very deserving students suddenly found themselves stripped of honors they should have received if not only for the fact that their parents could not afford to settle tuition dues. I heard stories of how some were not able to attend their graduation rites because of the fees being charged for it.

Yes, education is a right..or is it really?

Presently, quality education seems to no longer be accessible for all. While I may understand why education in a private institution can cost quite a lot, I also know that things can be done in the national level to help control these costs, especially for national universities. However, the money that should be going to quality education ends up in pockets that do not deserve them. It’s a shame that the government cannot allocate the budget that education sector deserves.  Sometimes it feels like only the private sector or citizens like our CNN Hero Efren Penaflorida and his team make clear strides towards making quality education accessible to all.

Just because education is a right, though, it doesn’t mean that you have to be ungrateful, irrational or violent about not receiving this right fully. While I fully understand where the students from PUP were coming from this past week when it came to their rallying and fighting for the education they deserve, I was disheartened by news of the violent protest that ensued. It saddened me that they felt they had to resort to burning the school equipment to prove their point. I have taken part in my fair share of protests and demonstrations but I still believe that violence will not solve anything. At the end of the day, I feel that instead of making a positive impact to the situation, it became an even more complicated one because now there are less resources available for the students.

As a teacher, I personally feel how education is not given the credit it definitely deserves. I will not deny that comparatively, the institution I work for pays me well. However, if I compare this to other countries or other types of industries, its not much. Sometimes, it makes me really think about why I still teach in the Philippines. Whenever I see Facebook updates about my fellow graduates from FLCD who are teaching in the US, I think about finally taking the plunge and making a good living for myself there. However, I still stay. Why? Because I still believe the Filipinos need teachers to stay.

As we approach the 2010 National Elections, campaign promises are being made left and right, and education is in the thick of it. I hope that finally, the next government can finally allocate a decent budget that will allow our millions of Filipinos to claim their right to education.

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Mar 21, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 2 Comments

If I weren’t a teacher….

If I were not a teacher, I would probably be a writer or be in media. Even though I am painfully shy (yes, I am!) my mom used to say I was very “showbiz” as a child. If I’d look for a job in that field, I’d probably explore Singapore public relations with Newsline Communications or consultancy with one of the local PR firms I get to interact with in blogger events. I could also look into training and development, whether locally or abroad.

Seriously though, I still like being a teacher a lot, which is why even though I believe I can do well in public relations I still choose to stay as what I am. I guess to some degree, teaching, especially young kids, is much like PR, just a different kind. I have to sell the idea of things kids don’t really like, such as vegetable and doctors’ visits and make them seem exciting and fun. In the adult world, public relations is still the same right? We try to get people interested in products and services by generating buzz and making these seem exciting and fun. I think there’s a difference though between simply generating buzz or gaining publicity to establishing a public presence. PR companies, I’d think, are not just there to publicize things but to care for your name, products and services.  To know more, read the article on public relations and click here for services. Like teaching, I don’t kids to just get excited about the idea of things, but I want them to learn these things and establish life-long connections to these concepts and ideas. So, I guess I’m still into PR after all…just in a different light. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Mar 19, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Teacher's Corner | 2 Comments

Teacher Ria’s SHOE Story

Before I begin, let me say it’s been a while since I stopped and tried to see the positives in my day-to-day life. Earlier this year, I had attempted to start a photo Project 365 that focused on finding the silver lining to everyday but since I’ve gotten so busy, I haven’t really had time to do so. Thankfully, as an added bonus for her contest, Earth encouraged her readers to take a look at their SHOEs for the day. What are SHOEs? These are your Seven Heaven on Earth, or seven things, events, places or whatever that you appreciate. No matter how small or big, it’s important to be grateful and to honor them, right?

So thanks Earth for reminding me to do this! And so, here are my SHOES:

1. I am grateful for the successful school year that had just finished. I enjoyed my days with the kids a lot, and despite some difficulties along the way, they all showed good progress and for those who are of age already, they made it to the big schools!
playschool 202

2. My third article for www.thepoc.net came out today :-) It was an article on addiction and I enjoyed trying to capture the shot that was used for the article. Oh….those are all vitamins, fyi! Well, except for the blue one, which is a night time over-the-counter sleep aid.
3. I am grateful for the summer. I love how I don’t have to wake up so early everyday and I am looking forward to the rest and relaxation summer brings. I was lucky to have some early summer getaways but hopefully soon, I can take a longer and more relaxing trip soon!
cebu-coron 2010 370

4. I am especially happy that both my brother and my Bubba are okay. Last week was a truly tumultuous week as Tuesday saw Bubba with a sprained paw and JJ, my brother, figured in a tricycle accident on Thursday.They’re both doing great now and thankfully, there’s no major problems or concerns with them both.

5. A good night’s sleep! If there is one thing I miss a lot, it’s sleeping in and not having to wake up with the blaring alarm clock. I am so grateful for that today!

assorted pics 031

6. My WIFI router! This was purchased from winnings in a contest I won a few months back and since I got it, it has definitely made me very happy. That and Cerise, my Nokia E63 :-)

moving up 002

7. My 7th SHOE is blog contests :-) Though I don’t win all the contests I join, it’s a fun and entertaining past time. And when I do win, the thrill is just….awesome! Just yesterday I received the great news that I won a Starbucks 2010 Clean and Green Tumbler! Woot!

Snapshot 2010-03-14 15-29-43

what about you, what are your SHOEs?

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Feb 25, 2010

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Claiming the Spirit of People Power


Today our country marks the 24th year since the historic bloodless revolution known as the People Power Revolution. From this the Philippines was freed from the clutches of a dictator. Our people got to know what true democracy meant and to live freely.

I was blessed to grow up in the time of that freedom. I was able to study in the University of the Philippines and not worry about anything because we had been granted the privileges of a free people. However, just because I personally did not grow up or live through (at least being old enough to know what it meant) martial law, this doesn’t mean I should take it for granted.

Today I am reminded of the fight my parents, and many of our parents, fought. I am reminded of the cause taken up by a simple housewife dressed in yellow, who fought to end the rule of the Dictator and to seek justice for the senseless killing not just of her husband, but of countless victims of extra-judicial killings, many of whom were never found. Today I am reminded of the sacrifice taken by many who marched down EDSA with arms linked, unfazed by tanks and arms that sought to stop them from gaining freedom.

However, as I recall with pride our people’s success, I feel saddened that even after all that, it seems that we as a people still have not learned our lesson. We still allow corrupt officials to govern us, just take a look at all the campaign paraphernalia all around asking for the voters to “bring back” or “return” old faces to power, despite knowing their track records. I feel appalled when I recall how that in the face of evidence of anomalies and inappropriate behaviors, we still allow these people to seek public office.

What do we need for us to learn our lessons? Isn’t that what history is for?

I may not be an expert, but isn’t it that that’s what the People Power fight was all about? To break the chains of old politics to usher in a new dawn? At the rate we’re going, it sort of feels that we are once more being chained into our old practices. And the sad part of this: we are not chained by tyrants unwillingly but we allow ourselves to be chained by our bad decisions.

We may be living in a “free” world today, but sometimes, I don’t believe the word free means the same thing anymore. Just take a look at the current situation of our country. We have the Maguinadano Massacre and the Morong 43, we have countless human rights violations, threats to our basic freedoms…all in the face of a supposed democracy.

As a people, we really need to claim the true Spirit of People Power.

There were so many heroes of EDSA. Let us honor them by keeping their fight alive.

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Feb 16, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 2 Comments

February 22 declared a Special Holiday

Another long weekend is looming for students all over the Philippines. Pursuant to Proclamation No. 1841 issued by Malacañang, there will be no classes on February 22, 2010 in commemoration of the 24th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution. For Parañaque based schools, this is the second consecutive long weekend as the city celebrated it’s cityhood day this Monday.

While I love my long weekends, sometimes I feel that we are losing the spirit of commemorating a holiday because it keeps getting pushed to the Monday or Friday nearest to it. I personally think it would be better to honor the days as they are, rather than making it a long weekend. For example, People Power was on February 25. I would have wanted to keep it that way. Nonetheless, I do see the logic behind moving it around but that doesn’t change the fact that I still want it on the day it’s supposed to be. Then again…I’m not complaining!!!

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